Day 2 of the Conference was such a great and informative packed day! I ate breakfast with some familiar faces and talked to some fellow illustrators. We shared portfolios and traded postcards. We listened to a panel discussion Q and A while we sipped our coffees.
I then continued my day and went to an agent panel discussion workshop and listened to what some of the agents had to say about querying and telling a good story. A lot of it dealt more with the writer's end which was interesting since that is a whole other item of exploration. The agents all agreed they were looking for stories with a good combination of narrative and conversation. I learned that a whole scene to a story will have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Go to the library and look at books to know your market, talk to librarians, and tell a story in your postcard!
I also attended Leeza Hernandez's Inspiration workshop. She said dress creative, it makes you feel better about yourself and enables you to work better. She also led us through some fun activities to get creative and brainstorm new illustration ideas. One key element is to take yourself back to a specific time in your childhood and remember the smells, the way things looked, the people you were with, and how you felt in a particular situation. This will help you to draw the inner child within and spark some great illustration ideas!
I attended another workshop that led us to develop ideas for successful school visits and how this can play a key role on the income of an author or an illustrator. Sudipta Bardhan as always gave a wonderful lecture on rhythm and rhyme shared some guidelines she follows to create a successful picture book manuscript. She said with picture book texts becoming shorter and shorter, one should aim at a 650 max word count and to include no more than one stanza per page.
I also had a portfolio critique with Scott Piehl of Disney Book Group. He offered me a lot of advice to improve my work and gave me some pointers when diving into future illustrations. The day closed off with some raffle giveaways and I am pleased to say I won two prizes!!! One was a pack of 5 autographed picture books and another was an early reader chapter book with an original piece of artwork from the book! Phew what a day! I am also happy to say I made some important contacts and had some important people show interest in my work that will hopefully lead to some future good news.........so yay!! (stay tuned!!)
I highly recommend going to any SCBWI event, especially NJ. The staff of fellow authors and illustrators went above and beyond to provide valuable information and priceless connections for people in or pursuing the children's book industry.